The day special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed, President Donald Trump flew into a rage the likes of which no one in the White House has ever seen, according to Bob Woodward's new book Fear.
The evening of Tuesday, May 16, 2017, The New York Times published a massive story about the president and former FBI Director James Comey "had written contemporaneous memos of his conversations with Trump," Woodward described.
Trump reportedly “hovered around the TV, glued to coverage” of the stories.
On CNN, conservative commentator David Gergen warned that Trump was "in impeachment territory. What we see is a presidency that’s starting to come apart.”
Almost like Gergen cued the president, Trump began to fume.
A former aide Robert Porter could see that the president was "about to lose it" at the mere mention of impeachment.
"The president voiced outrage that Comey seemed to have turned the tables on him," the book claims.
The following day was when Trump learned Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller.
"Trump’s mood deteriorated overnight and the next day, May 18, was the worst," the book continues. "The president erupted into uncontrollable anger, visibly agitated to a degree that no one in his inner circle had witnessed before. It was a harrowing experience."
“We barely got by,” Porter told the aide.
The president usually stays in the Oval Office or his private dining room, but on that day, he was storming back and forth between the two places. He turned to cable news to try and distract him and "raged" as aides came in and out.
“He was just in here, and I didn’t hire him for the FBI,” Trump erupted. “Of course he’s got an axe to grind with me.”
“Everybody’s trying to get me,” the president continued. “It’s unfair. Now everybody’s saying I’m going to be impeached.”
He then began asking Porter about the powers a special counsel has. The aide explained that Mueller would have "virtually unlimited" ability to look into whatever he wanted under the scope of the investigation.
“Now I have this person,” Woodward cited Trump saying bitterly, “who has no accountability who can look into anything, however unrelated it is? They’re going to spend years digging through my whole life and finances.”
Meetings were ultimately canceled that day because the president couldn't focus. According to the book, the ragegasm reminded Porter of what former President Richard Nixon final days were like.
“They’re out to get me,” Trump said. “This is an injustice. This is unfair. How could this have happened? It’s all Jeff Sessions’ fault. This is all politically motivated. Rod Rosenstein doesn’t know what the hell he is doing. He’s a Democrat. He’s from Maryland.”
“I’m getting punched,” Trump said. “I have to punch back. In order for it to be a fair fight, I have to be fighting.”
He continued to pace between the rooms for the remainder of the day, ranting that he'd lost control of the investigation into Russia.
“I am the president,” Trump said. “I can fire anybody that I want. They can’t be investigating me for firing Comey. And Comey deserved to be fired! Everybody hated him. He was awful.”
As many bookstores are out of stock, you can read Woodward's full book via Kindle.